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PAUTA dissolved; fresh poll soon 
Members manhandle photojournalists
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Punjab Agricultural University Teachers' Association (PAUTA) was dissolved today. This decision was taken during the annual general body meeting of the association, which came out to be a noisy affair, at the Pal auditorium in the campus.

The date of fresh elections will soon be announced and Dr RS Dhillon has been appointed as the returning officer.

One of the PAUTA sections didn’t allow the journalists to enter the venue where the annual general body meeting was being organised today. A few photojournalists were not only stopped but also manhandled by the teachers. Some teachers even misbehaved with them.

SP (City) Harsh Bansal, SHO RS Kahlon, Sarabha Nagar, and in charge Rajesh Thakur, Raghunath Chowki, had to intervene for settling the issue. The matter was resolved after the PAUTA members submitted a written apology.

Meanwhile, today's meeting was convened by executive of the PAUTA under the leadership of Mukesh Siag, general secretary, and Dr GS Saroa, the new president, for discussing various issues, including attitude of the authorities towards the teachers, candidature of presidentship and the implementation of pay-scales, etc.

But the rival group, through a letter which was signed by more than 250 members yesterday, had demanded that the status of the president should be cleared first and then only the general house could proceed on further issues as Dr MS Mahal, PAUTA president, had resigned about two months ago following conflicting statements issued by some office-bearers.

During the meeting, the rival group raised objections and demanded that Dr BS Sohal, vice-president, candidature be proposed for the presidentship.

The proposal, however, did not go well with the opposite group that wanted Dr GS Saroa to continue for the remaining period till fresh elections in October.

During the proceedings, both factions leveled allegations and counter allegations and the PAUTA was dissolved. The members expect that fresh elections will be held within 15 days.

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Poll Khol — 1
Roads in the city cry for attention
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Promises are made to be broken is an idiom that aptly fits on our elected representatives. Before going to the polls they value their words but as soon as they come to power they seem to forget everything.

The sequence of events would be witnessed once again now with the approaching the Lok Sabha poll where every resident would find politicians appearing on their doorsteps with joined hands showing you another dream of development provided you favour them.

But before you cast your vote, do give a thought to the basic amenities in Ludhiana. Be it the SAD-BJP alliance or the Congress that comes to the power, the fact that civic amenities are yet to reach the masses could not be denied. Though facilities like better roads, potable water, sewerage system etc would top the poll agenda, if critically accessed no one would deny the fact that works have started on fast pace only just two or three months ago and that too in the wake of the poll.

Roads are known as lifeline of a city and for an industrial centre like Ludhiana, smooth roads should have been on the priority list of the politicians. But contrary to it there are areas like Transport Nagar where patches of pebbles and mud exist in the name of roads. The condition could be also witnessed at Focal Point and interior areas of the city where bumpy rides welcome you. When the area shopkeepers were asked about their experiences, they said, "What would a freight corridor do when we don't have a road that could connect us to it?"

While the civic body may have started recarpeting work on main roads like the Ferozepur Road, Old GT Road and the Link Road for giving a new look, but the quality of work shows that the roads would be weather out as soon as the poll gets over, if road experts are to believed. Work on some of the roads like the old GT Road and the Link Road has been left in the middle and layers of bitumen added could be seen clearly which is dangerous for two-wheeler riders.

Besides, a drive on newly constructed road could tell you about the smoothness of the carpeted bitumen. Apart from it, the patchwork done on the roads could be seen coming out displaying the seriousness of works being undertaken in the wake of the poll. The Cheema and Vishkarma Chowks are best examples of it.

If figures are to be believed, the municipal corporation had decided to spend Rs 32 crore on new roads and Rs 20 crore on maintenance of roads, including those under the PWD in 2008-09, but the residents themselves could access what part of amount has been spent where.

Talking to The Tribune, All-India Motor Transport Congress chief CS Lohara said: "The condition of roads is an outcome of corrupt officials in the civic body who had been working with the help of local politicians. The nexus between contractors, officers and politicians has hit the city hard. Main roads once constructed should have lasted for 10 years but they last not even for a few months in Ludhiana. Neither the quality of work is accessed nor does anybody bother where the funds are being spent." He complained that even safai karamcharis employed for cleaning the roads fail to perform their duty, which reflects the seriousness of politicians and officials.

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Shopkeeper assaulted near his house 
4 youths snatch bag containing Rs 5.2 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Four assailants attacked a 34-year-old shopkeeper at Kitchlu Nagar late last night and snatched cash worth Rs 5.2 lakh after injuring him badly.

The shopkeeper, Vinay Jain, having a cosmetics shop in Gur Mandi, had closed his shop for the day and was going home. When he reached his house in Kitchlu Nagar and rang the door bell, he was attacked by car-borne unidentified youths who were probably waiting for him.

They hit him with iron rods and snatched the bag carrying cash. Hearing the commotion, Vinay's neighbours rushed out of their houses and tried to overpower the youths. They, however, gave them the slip and sped in their white Maruti car.

The neighbour could only note the car's number. They then shifted Vinay to DMC Hospital. He had a grievous injury on his skull. It had to be sutured. Vinay is still recuperating in the hospital.

Ajay Jain, a relative of the victim, said Vinay used to come home at the same time everyday after collecting the cash from his shop. But yesterday he had received money from a scheme he had invested his money in. The assailants probably got a whiff of it.

The incident spread panic in Kitchlu Nagar. SSP Sukhchain Singh too reached the spot. He stayed with the family till midnight and went to the hospital also to meet the victim.

The police has registered a case of snatching and injuring the shopkeeper. The Maruti car (number PB 10AH-2342) is being identified. The police said it would not take them long to reach the assailants. They would soon crack the case. 

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Substandard Material
19 MC officials chargesheeted 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Vigilance cell of the Local Bodies Department has charge sheeted 19 employees of the municipal corporation’s engineering wing on account of substandard works executed in the civic body.

These employees have been identified as SE Dharam Singh, SE Arun Sharma, XENs HC Salaria, HS Khaussa, MPS Kalra, and PK Chaddha along with eight ACEs, four junior engineers and the DCFA.

The corporation officials have been charge sheeted due to failure of samples that were jointly taken by Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, and the vigilance officers on December 2, 2008. The samples were collected from various areas, including the Hambran Road, the Dhandran Road, road joining the Pratap Chowk with the zone C office and road from Kocchar Market to the Midda Chowk.

It was for the first time that a team of PEC officials were asked to collect the samples and inspect them after the vigilance had received reports of irregularities and substandard material being used in various roads, which included the Hambran Road, Dhandran Road and the Gill Road. 

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Subscribers in a fix as BSNL withdraws ‘95’ facility
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Confusion prevails among subscribers as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has withdrawn its “95” facility. The subscribers have been left in a lurch, as they are unable to connect the numbers within the state. The BSNL will provide STD free of cost to each of its subscriber, but the facility has not been updated till date.

This facility provided by the BSNL had made the entire Punjab locally accessible, as the subscribers were able to dial any number by prefixing 95. Initially, Re 1 was charged for 60 seconds, but now the same amount will be charged for 120 seconds.

According to BSNL sources, it would provide STD free of cost to each subscriber, and those, who did not want to avail this facility, could submit a letter in this regard with the department.

Satnam Singh, working in a private firm, added that he was facing lot of problem due to the non-functioning of the “95” facility. "We don’t have STD facility at our office and are now facing lot of inconvenience. Though the BSNL has made the right move by charging STD call at par with the local call, but it should have started immediately,” he added.

Another subscriber, Kulwant Kaur, said her son lived in Mumbai and with STD call getting cheaper she stands to gain. But at the same time people are presently facing problem, as they have no option to get connected to the outside numbers. "Yesterday, when I was trying to fax important papers to my head office in Chandigarh, I was unable to connect to the number. It’s due to callousness of BSNL authorities people are facing lot of difficulties and bearing losses," said Satish Kumar.

On the other side, General Manger, Telecom, SK Aggarwal, claimed that the free STD facility had already been given to the subscribers.

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MC bank account freezed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
The Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, today witnessed a major embarrassment when one of its bank accounts having around Rs 6 crore was frezeed with the orders of a Fast Track Court.

The orders came as the MC authorities kept on sleeping despite the passing of orders by the Supreme Court of India and not implemented the orders.

The controversy had started in 2001 when the MC authorities had demolished the building of Inderjit Singh terming it to be unauthorised. Whereas the aggrieved party was having stay order from a local court.

Terming the MC action to be wrong, the court had asked the authorities to reconstruct the building and hand it over to Inderjit Singh. Then the MC had moved to the Punjab and Haryana High Court where their appeal was dismissed.

They had filed an SLP against the order before the Supreme Court of India. But they had also lost the case there and were also ordered to pay Rs 2 lakh to Inderjit Singh apart from restoring possessing by reconstructing the building.

Passing this order, presiding officer of the Fast Track Court Manjinder Singh (Additional Sessions Judge) had remarked that MC officials were making lame excuses to get adjournments.

But they had failed to comply with the orders. Not even a single penny was paid to the litigants despite availing several opportunities, further observed the Judge.

Dismissing an SLP filed by the MC in October, 2008, the Supreme Court had assessed Rs 2 lakh as counsel fee and to be paid by the MC. The MC officials were also ordered to restore the demolished building of Inderjit Singh of Sham Nagar.

The bank account of the MC, maintained with UCO bank in MC building, has been attached.

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Documentary on Pingalwara by Toronto film maker 
Toronto film-maker
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
A Toronto-based film-maker of international repute, Joginder Singh Kalsi, has produced a documentary “A Selfless Life” on Bhagat Pooran Singh Pingalwara.

Presenting a copy of the film to the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, here yesterday, Kalsi said the film was a biographical account of Bhagat Pooran Singh, having English and Punjabi tracks.

Kalsi said all the religions in the world, in one way or the other, had emphasised that service to the needy was a human virtue and a channel for spiritual attainment. Yet, in human history, only a few had been acknowledged to have lived their entire lives by this lofty ideal, he further said.

He mentioned that like Albert Schweitzer and Mother Teresa, Bhagat Pooran Singh of Amritsar was among the few luminaries in recent history, who devoted their entire lives to serve the sick, the weak and the destitute. Kalsi shared that he would plan to produce a documentary on legendary Punjabi personalities such as Dr Mohinder Singh Randhawa and Kulwant Singh Virk in due course. He appreciated the PAU for making efforts to promote not only agriculture but Punjabi culture also. He also paid a visit to the recently inaugurated Dr MS Randhawa Art Gallery.

Dr Kang congratulated Kalsi for preparing the documentary on the Pingalwara, whom he described as an embodiment of service to humanity. Dr Kang said Bhagat strived to create awareness about conserving environment, natural resources and follow the righteous path in life. He said the film would be screened in the villages for spreading the philosophy of Bhagat.

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Ludhiana gears up for Lok Sabha polls
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
With announcement of the election schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, the political parties are gearing up for the same.

Ludhiana parliamentary seat goes to polls in the last V phase on May 13. Ludhiana district had 12 Vidhan Sabha segments before delimitation of the constituencies and now the number of Vidhan Sabha seats in the district has gone to 14.

Ludhiana parliamentary seat consists of Ludhiana East, Ludhiana South, Atam Nagar, Ludhiana Central, Ludhiana West, Ludhiana North, Gill (SC), Dakha and Jagraon (SC).

Atam Nagar, Ludhiana Central, Ludhiana South and Gill are newly carved Vidhan Sabha seats after the delimitation.

There are five more Vidhan Sabha seats, namely Khanna, Samrala, Sahnewal, Payal and Raikot, which have been attached with the newly created Fatehgarh Lok Sabha seat.

Earlier Khanna and Samrala were attached with the Ropar Lok Sabha seat, which has been abolished.

At present the Akali Dal has five Vidhan Sabha seats, the BJP has two and the Congress has five seats in the district.

After the delimitation, Kumkalan and Kila Raipur Vidhan Sabha seats have been abolished. Both these Vidhan Sabha seats are held by the Congress at present.

The Dakha Vidhan Sabha seat, which was a reserve seat, has been made general seat while Jagraon and Raikot both general have been now declared as the reserve seats (SC).

The Lok Sabha seat is at present held by Akali Dal nominee Sharanjit Singh Dhillon. The Akali Dal high command has announced to put Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, a veteran Congress leader, who joined the Akali Dal, as he was denied the Congress ticket in the 2004 Lok Sabha poll.

Manish Tewari, secretary All-India Congress Committee, who lost to Sharanjit Singh Dhillon in 2004 is again aspirant for the Congress ticket and has started his campaign in Ludhiana.

The Congress high command is yet to make the official announcement about his candidature as the Congress nominee from the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat.

The administration has started identifying sensitive polling stations in Ludhiana district and according to the official information available today there are as many as 684 sensitive polling stations in the district. The total number of polling stations for the Ludhiana and Fatehgarh Sahib Lok Sabha seats in Ludhiana district will be 2,004.

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Poll Code Violation
Drama over blue cards’ issuance
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
An Akali leader's bid to prepare blue cards for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families in Ghwaddi village, despite the model code of conduct coming into force, was foiled by villagers, who raised a stink and sent private persons carrying forms for cards’ packing.

The matter came to light when an announcement was made from a village gurdwara, inviting the BPL families to fill forms for getting blue cards for the “atta-daal scheme”.

The families were invited to a dharamshala in the morning, where two persons, working allegedly at the behest of an Akali MLA, were to fill the forms. The villagers then complained to the authorities concerned. They even informed the media.

A high drama was witnessed in the village after the media reached the spot. The two persons, including an application writer of the village, fled from the spot. They said they were asked by an Akali MLA, who wanted them to prepare cards for the people.

‘‘It was when the village gurdwara sounded on their public address system that cards were being prepared, we could understand the matter. So we decided, we would oppose it tooth and nail,’’ said Paramjeet Singh Ghwaddi, a villager.

He said while 21 BPL families of the village were yet to be issued blue cards, the leaders were now trying to entice the innocent residents for garnering votes.

‘‘It is not for the first time that such a thing has happened. Such election sops are openly given in villages, that too in the interiors. Nobody comes to know about it,’’ added Ghwaddi.

The villagers said it was strange that even after two years of announcing the scheme, such cards were not prepared. Now they were trying to prepare these in a jiffy. They were scared that they would not be able to garner votes as people would question them. Had they been so much for the people, where they were for the last two years?’’ they asked.

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Veteran versus old Congress men

Now that former Congress MP Gurcharan Singh Galib is a Shiromani Akali Dal candidate from Ludhiana Parliamentary, it becomes little difficult for everyone to identify him with the party (SAD). Even he is learnt to have told his close aides during the negotiations with the SAD that he was finding it difficult to adjust in the new environs. Galib spent 50 years in the Congress and at the end of the day he joined the SAD, as he was denied the Congress ticket.

Now with Manish Tiwari almost certain to be the Congress candidate, it is going to be an all-Congress affair in Ludhiana during Parliamentary elections. Although Galib is an Akali candidate, but it would not be easy for him to change overnight to the ideology that is thoroughly opposed to the one he cherished for 50 years. Whatever the case may be it is going to be the young Congressman verses a veteran Congressman, sorry, a new Akali leader.

Defector left in the lurch

A leader of the Congress group in the Municipal Corporation Prem Mittal, who had joined the Shiromani Akali Dal along with two-times member of Lok Sabha Gurcharan Singh Galib in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal here a few days back seems to have been left in the lurch by his new party.

If the Congress circles are to be believed, sulking Mittal did not have the nerve to attend the house meeting convened on Saturday to pass the budget for the next year and chances of getting a coveted political post for him are also remote as the Lok Sabha polls are expected to be announced any time now with code of conduct coming into force at the same time.

Even well placed sources in the SAD-B maintain that the new entrant to the party would not carry much weight in the local set up of the party where stalwarts like Hira Singh Gabria (cabinet minister), Harish Rai Dhanda (chief parliamentary secretary), Amarjit Singh Bhatia (member of working committee), Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal (former minister) and Avtar Singh Makkar (president of SGPC) pull all strings.

Simple living…

There is something impressive about finance minister of Punjab Manpreet Badal. He lives by the adage of “simple living and high thinking”. Despite being the finance minister of the state, he never wears the airs usually associated with the political leaders and the ministers.

Recently during his visit to Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, Manpreet surprised everybody when he came alone in his car.

He drove it himself and had no assistants to accompany nor did he allow any security personnel to follow him. This was quite incredible at the time when ordinary political workers love to flaunt the security. Not only that, the way Manpreet fielded the questions from students and narrated the anecdotes from history impressed everyone present. We certainly need leaders like Manpreet who lead and live by the example.

Relations on sale

A Ludhiana Tribune reporter, recently, witnessed an interesting fact of cashing in on the unfortunate fact of disintegrating families. During her visit to the neighbouring state, Haryana, last week, she came across an enterprising businessman who has opened an "exclusive outlet" for hiring relations in Ambala.

"For hire" is relatives of every age and category. One simply needs to visit the shop and explain one's requirements. Charges ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 per occasion, one can hire grandparents, cousins, in-laws and friends. What is even more interesting is the fact that one gets the option to choose a particular look for the "relative" from among various themes on display. Times have come when one can literally "buy relations".

Mockery of the Constitution

The way financial Budget for 2009-10 was presented and passed by the SAD-BJP alliance in the Ludhiana Municipal House on Saturday was completely a mockery of Constitution. These elected representatives who have power and have been entrusted with responsibilities were seen to be hardly bothered about what is being done with whopping Rs 652 crore.

Neither any policy on utilisation of funds nor measures to be taken to increase revenue were thought by the councillors from both the ruling and the opposition parties. The whole session was like a small play, which was presented and gone. It's really disheartening to see how people vote such politicians who give a damn to their electorate.

Beggars’ paradise

Certain prominent religious places all over the city continue to be beggar's paradise. The Tribune photographer was foxed to see a swarm of beggar's crowding any car, which stopped to make an offering at a prominent temple.

Interestingly, a majority of car drivers or occupants, who stopped near the temple gate gave alms to more than a dozen beggars, who clamoured over one another to get a currency note.

Traffic menace discussed

Uncontrollable traffic and discussions on the problems seem to be a never-ending process in the city. With new vehicles added everyday to roads, the situation is turning from bad to worse. And residents do not leave any chance to rue about the scenario.

During a party organised by a doctor recently, people from all walks of life were discussing all that ailed the planet.

In a corner was a group of people who had nothing but Ludhiana's traffic on the agenda. They were trying to find out the solution of the issue and were really taxing their brains till the time a resident came up with the idea to follow London's rule to check traffic. ‘‘We too should allow only cars with even numbers of registration one day and odd numbered the next. It would surely help,’’ he said with a tinkle in his eyes only to be corrected by another resident. He was right in understanding Ludhianvis when he said if this rule was implemented here, the residents would buy two cars with both kinds of registration numbers. And then would zoom in everyday.

Making dreams true

Everybody works hard to fulfill their dreams. But for some, the dreams turn into obsession and they go to any extent to make them realise. Recently I met a girl at a wedding who got married to a NRI recently.

While chatting with her I came to know that it was the second marriage of her husband and he had a son from his first wife. Wondering why a daughter of an IAS officer got married to this man, I reluctantly asked her the reason. She replied proudly that it was her dream to settle abroad and she does not mind getting married to a divorcee. No wonder Punjab has highest number of cases of NRIs duping their wives but still people do not mind taking the highest risk to get their dreams fulfilled. Indeed I was thinking what a shortcut to make dreams true!

Passion for horses

Till recently, there was a trend of keeping pets (dogs and cats) at homes by Ludhianvis. But now it is horses, for whom people have gone crazy. Doctors at veterinary hospital here informed since keeping horses was an expensive hobby, proud owners do not think even twice to get proper treatments to their pets (horses) in case of emergency. An imported horse was recently treated and the cost of treatment came around Rs 20,000. "The owner happily agreed to foot the bill after all his expensive horse (about Rs 5 lakh) was saved", told the doctor.

Contributed By: Rajesh Bhambi, Kuldeep Bhatia, Charu Chibber, Jyotika Sood, Sanjeev Bariana, Kanchan Vasdev, Manav Ghuman and Shivani Bhakoo 

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Bank unions to meet today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
With the ninth bipartite wage settlement of bank employees ending inconclusively and the union finance minister not giving any concrete assurance on revision of salaries, the United Forum of Bank Unions, an organisation of nine bank unions, has decided to meet tomorrow to decide its future course of action.

"We have decided to hold a meeting to decide on the future course of action. In the meeting, we will take a call on whether the bank employees across the country should go for a strike to press for their demands," said GD Nadaf, general secretary, All-India State Bank Officers' Federation.

He further added that while the finance minister said the code of conduct of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections in the country would not be a deterrent in announcing the salary revision for the bank officers but he did not give any concrete assurance on the issue.

Besides revision in wages, the bank employees have demanded introduction of pension scheme for the employees and re-introduction of compensatory appointment in the banking sector.

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Railway projects discussed at meeting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
A team of senior railway officials led by deputy chief engineer Dinesh Sharma held a detailed discussion with Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura and district officials to review the progress of stalled railway overbridge project to replace old Lakkar Pul and proposed underbridge at the Shastri Nagar railway crossing at a meeting here today.

Among other district officials, additional deputy commissioner (General) Kuldip Singh and additional deputy commissioner (Development) Devinder Singh also attended the meeting.

The railway officials while discussing drawing and alignment of the overbridge and the underbridge in the city emphasised upon the MC to deposit funds so that the Railways could initiate tendering process and work could commence on these projects.

As per the revised estimate, the overbridge in place of Lakkar Pul is estimated to cost around Rs 22 crore and the Railways had asked the MC to deposit the funds with the Railways.

According to Devinder Singh, other projects of the railway overbridge in Khanna and another in Fatehgarh Sahib were also discussed in the meeting and the railway officials had assured to expedite the work once they received the necessary funds from the respective funding agencies.

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Railways’ health unit sick
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 4
There prevails a resentment among serving employees and pensioners of the Railways over the pathetic condition of the department’s health unit here, which lacks infrastructure, diagnostic and clinical facilities and the trained professionals.

As the proposed upgradation of the unit to sub-divisional hospital hangs for quite some time now, there is no visiting dental surgeon, general surgeon or orthopaedic specialist to attend to the patients. Similarly, even most common laboratory and diagnostic tests, like lipid profile, ultrasound and echocardiography, are not available at the health unit.

With the medical officials posted here disinclined to refer the employees or pensioners in need of emergency medical assistance, they have no other choice but to go to divisional hospital at Ferozepur or central hospital at New Delhi.

According to information given to Sher Singh, chairman, Northern Railway Pensioners’ Welfare Association, by the Additional Divisional Railways Manager under the RTI Act, the list of equipment proposed to be procured for the local health unit has been sent to the headquarters duly approved by the chief medical director. Further, a proposal for improvement of the existing building has been shortlisted by the competent authority and financial allocation for the same is awaited.

The officials informed the association that the upgradation of the health unit was the prerogative of the Railway Board. Any proposal to this effect, along with the justification, had to be forwarded by the Senior Divisional Medical Officer, which has not been received till now.

Singh said the work for renovation of the building of the unit was moving at snail's pace and till the completion of the work, the diagnostic and clinical equipment worth Rs 17 lakh sanctioned for the local health unit could not be procured. He said if the work continued at its prevailing speed, the financial allocation for the equipment might lapse with the end of current financial year, making the employees and pensioners wait for another year for the promised medical facilities.

On behalf of the association, he made a fervent appeal to the railway authoritiesto view the problems of the pensioners in proper perspective and expedite renovation of the building of health unit, provide necessary equipment and also initiate necessary steps to upgrade the unit to a sub-divisional hospital.

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Conference on cancer care at CMCH today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
Most doctors are hard-pressed for time in their daily practice of medicine but they still need to take time to discuss the illness and treatment options with patients and their families. In a bid to focus on this strategic issue, the medical oncology unit, headed by Dr Rohit Joshi, at the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here is organising a 3-day conference on "Cancer Care: Chemotherapy, Communication, Research and Beyond” from March 5 to 7, 2009.

The workshops during the conference are being organised in collaboration with the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, the Cancer Council Australia and the Pam McLean Institute at Sydney.

The conference will have multiple hours of communication skills workshops where doctors and nurses will be trained to communicate better with patients and families. Actors are being flown in from Sydney, along with trained communication skills facilitators. They will teach the doctors verbal and non-verbal techniques in discussing about the cancer.

The teaching modules will comprise “breaking bad news to patients”, “breaking news that the cancer has returned” and “breaking news that there is no more treatment available for the patient”. Doctors and nurses will have to act these situations out with the trained actors and the facilitators.

According to Dr Joshi, this is the first workshop of its kind in the North India and will help doctors communicate better with their patients as also understand the feelings of the patients. Dr Sid Selva and Dr Ian Olver will be the main facilitators for the communication skills workshop.

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300 examined at medical camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
District unit of the National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) held a medical check-up camp at Karabara, an urban slum near new sabzi mandi here on Monday.

Dr Surendra Gupta, along with other members of the body, including Dr Inder Sharma, Dr KK Kharbanda, Dr Diwaker Sharma, Dr Sanggeta Chhabra and Dr Naresh Sablok, conducted the check-up.

Nearly 300 persons were examined at the camp. Blood pressure and weight-height ratio (BMI) tests were carried out free of cost. Dr Gupta said preventing the diabetes and hypertension in children was the duty of parents. Type-1 diabetes occurred in young age group and had very vague symptoms like weakness and failure to gain weight. "Such patients require Insulin shots throughout their life for survival. Similarly, young hypertensives have symptoms like headache and vertigo. The problem is usually diagnosed when kidneys are already damaged and thus need to be transplanted."

The doctors stressed the need for healthy eating habits and regular check-up to monitor blood pressure and blood glucose level, following a regimen of physical exercise for better management of diabetes as also keeping other diseases at bay.

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This tomboy has a knack for Punjabi films
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
For a tomboy like Rakhee Sharma from the United Kingdom, the most difficult part while participating in a reality show, “Dance India Dance” ,was dressing up like a girl. “We dress according to the song we are singing. It was very difficult for me to wear skimpy dresses as I am always in jeans and t-shirt," she said.

Commenting on the favoritism, she added, “Even in real life, we tend to built good equations with some while we fail to impress others.”

What she misses the most about India is “makki di roti, saron da saag and paranthas.” “I miss the real touch of Indian food in the UK,” she added. If given a chance, she would like to work in Punjabi movies. She is also taking lessons at Anupam Kher's acting classes.

Twenty-two-year-old Rakhee is from the United Kingdom but her heart still belongs to her birth place, Punjab. This “Punjab di kudi” has not only won over the judges' heart but is also a hot favourite among the audiences in India and abroad.

“Though I haven’t been formally trained in dancing, I have my guru, Remo Fernandes, who goes ga-ga over my grasping skills and dedication to this art,” she added. 

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Suicides by Farmers
PAU report yet to be out 
K.S.Chawla

Ludhiana, March 4
While the Punjab Government has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for each family of those farmers who committed suicide due to rural indebtedness, experts in Punjab Agricultural University are busy in finalising the survey report.

Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has asked the experts of the Department of Economics and the Sociology Department of the PAU to conduct a survey of the suicide deaths of the farmers in Punjab. Initially, the survey was meant to cover the suicide deaths by the farmers only but later on, the suicide deaths by khet mazdoors were also made part of the survey.

The survey was restricted to two districts, Sangrur and Bathinda, where the number of such deaths was higher compared with the other districts. The survey was started in January and the experts are supposed to submit the report by end of March.

While the final findings are not yet known, the number of suicide deaths in the two districts range between 4,000 and 5,000, including those of the khet mazdoors.

The major cause for the suicides was the rural indebtedness, besides drug addiction and the economic stress among the farmers as a post green revolution effect. The suicides by the farmers started taking place in the state after 1985.

The green revolution was at its peak in the early seventies and the same started losing its impact in the eighties. There have been conflicting reports about the suicides by the farmers as an NGO had reported the number at 21,000 while kisan organisations had put the same at more than 10,000. The Punjab farmers are under debt to the tune of Rs 26, 000 crore, including about Rs 10 crore pertaining to the debt of the arhtias.

The gravity of the debt had been so acute in some villages in the Malwa belt that at one village a board had been put up “village for sale”. This village was in Bathinda district. Punjab got only about Rs 1,300 crore out of Rs 71, 00 crore loan waiver announced by the Central Government during the 2008-09 Budget. The Punjab Government had been pressing for more compensation for the farmers.

Marital discord was also one of the causes of the suicides by the farmers.

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PAU kisan mela from March 19
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Seeds of the newly released paddy variety, PR-120, and the Basmati variety, Punjab Mehak-1, will be distributed to farmers during the forthcoming kisan melas of Punjab Agricultural University.

According to Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director of communication, PAU, PR-120 is a semi-dwarf variety with dark green leaves, which matures in 132 days. It has long slender, translucent grains with good cooking quality. The variety is resistant to bacteria blight and yields on an average 28.5 quintals per acre.

Punjab Mehak-1 possesses long slender translucent grains with strong aroma. It has good cooking qualities. The variety is resistant to bacterial blight and yields 11 quintals per acre.

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PAU, Moscow varsity sign MoU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
A delegation comprising four students and two teachers from Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering (MSUEE), Moscow, Russia, which was on a two-week visit to PAU, completed its training.

PAU and MSUEE have signed a MoU for the exchange of students of College of Agricultural Engineering under which the students' exchange visits have been held.

The team had an interaction with PAU VC Dr Manjit Singh Kang and deans, directors and other officers of PAU today. On successful completion of the programme, the delegation members were presented with certificates.

Team leader Dr Rozhkov Andrey thanked PAU for its hospitality and nice arrangement for the training of the students. The team travelled around PAU, visited different places and interacted with scientists.

Dr Andrey said the exchange visits of the students proved useful to widen professional horizon and wished that scientific cooperation between the two universities in identified areas should grow further.

In his remarks, Dr Kang said the bilateral visits of the students and faculty members provided them with opportunity to know each other from the professional angle as well as learning about the culture and heritage. 

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Scientist gets gold medal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Dr Sanjeev Kumar Uppal, professor (medicine), department of veterinary clinical services complex, GADVASU, has been awarded the prestigious “Dr DC Blood Gold Medal” for his outstanding achievements and contributions in teaching, research, extension and clinical services in the field of veterinary medicine.

Sanjeev received the award at the 27th convention and satellite seminars on veterinary internal medicine by the Indian Society for Veterinary Medicine, held at the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai.

Uppal did his PhD under sandwich programme of the German academic exchange service scheme from Punjab Agricultural University and Free University, Berlin.

He has been awarded the Commonwealth Post Doctorate Fellowship of the UK and the National Academy of Veterinary Sciences of India. He has published more than 40 research articles in the international and national journals of repute.

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CBSE class X exams begin
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
First paper of the CBSE class X examinations, which began today, was conducted smoothly. The first paper was that of Social Studies and students came out of the examination hall relieved. The paper was easy and was within the framework of the syllabus.

Sania, a student of Sacred Heart Convent School, was bubbling with confidence and said she would surely score 90 plus. She said no question was set up from sample papers.

Prabhleen, another student, was also happy about her attempt and said high order thinking skills

(HOTS) and the CBSE helpline were quite helpful to the students. The students were happy because it was an expected paper.

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City bodybuilder clinches c’ship
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Local lad Charan Kamal has brought laurels to the city by winning the Punjab State Amateur Bodybuilding championship held at Shanker Nakodar village.

The championship was organised by the Punjab State Amateur Bodybuilding Association under the aeges the Indian Bodybuilding Federation at the World Health Club.

Before winning the overall championship, Charan Kamal, clinched the first spot in the 65- 75 kg weight category.

Geared up with this win, Charan Kamal is preparing for the senior India championship going to be held in April.

“It was a tough to win the championship as some of the most promising bodybuilders were vying for the top spot. I prepared myself well in advances for the championship,” said Charan Kamal.

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Threeke village win kabaddi title
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, March 4
Threeke village team clinched the champion's title by defeating Ber Khurd village team with the score of 19-23. The all-open kabaddi tourney was organised by the Azad Sports Club of Mohie village, in collaboration with kabaddi player Rajwinder of Baddowal village and Balbir Singh Beera of Canada.

As many as 14 teams of the area contested for the championship. MLA Jassi Khangura, Gurcharan Singh Galib, Maan Singh Garcha, Major Singh Detwal, organisers of the tournament and many prominent personalities were among others present as a large number of people around the area thronged the stadium.

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Speaking Out
Snap ties with sports bodies in Pak: Chamanlal
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
It was black Tuesday for the world of sports in general and cricket in particular as the Sri Lankan cricket team, which were on Pakistan tour for playing one-day and Test series, were targeted by terrorist in Lahore. It was probably for the first time that the cricketers were made to face bullets rather than the cricket ball.

This daring attack reminds on of the Mumbai attack carried out by 12 terrorists armed with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket launchers who opened fire on the bus carrying the cricketers to Gaddafi stadium yesterday morning. The attack has left a question mark on the fate of the sport in Pakistan.

The Tribune interacted with various sports personalities and took their views on the prevailing situation.

Gagandeep Singh, an experienced Ranji Trophy player, who has shared a dressing room with the Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara during his IPL stint, was shocked and dismayed after watching the news. I hope they recover soon and would like to see them back in action. He expressed concern over the fate of sports in Pakistan. There should be a complete ban on any type of sports being played in Pakistan, until things normalises.

Karan Goel, a Ranji Trophy player, who also played along with the Shri Lankan greats in the IPL, has expressed displeasure over course of event.

"It is a bad day for the cricketing world. From now on it would be the players who would be in the hit list of the terrorist. More than physical, it is a psychological blow for the players the result of which one will see in the upcoming matches."

Chamanlal Malhotra, chairman of selectors of the Punjab cricket team and arguably the first cricketer of independent India, who has played county cricket in England in late 60s has appealed to the world sports bodies to snap ties with Pakistan. "This incident is really uncalled for and tragic. I appeal to the respective sports federations to snap ties with Pakistan until they stop perpetrating terrorism in their homeland.

Ramandeep Singh Grewal, former Captain and coach of the Indian hockey team, has appreciated the governments for not sending both cricket and hockey teams to Pakistan. "Otherwise it would have been us as Indians have always been on terrorists’ hit list. We have seen 26/11 now that would have been catastrophic. I believe our players are fortunate not to have travelled to Pakistan and there are no chances that they will travel there in the near future."

Teja Singh Dhaliwal, general secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, said: “What to talk of the players even residents of Pakistan are not safe in the prevailing scenario. I think the Sir Lankan government is responsible as they sent their team despite being informed by the agencies of the possible terrorist attack. What is the need of showing goodwill to the country which is a breeding ground of terrorism?"

Vinod Chitkara, honorary secretary, LDCA, said: "The future of the players, who have been shot, hangs in balance as it has been witnessed in the past as well that injuries have marred career of some of the promising cricketers."

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Nakul wins 400m race
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 4
The 6th annual athletics meet of Gobindgarh Public College, Alour, was held yesterday on the campus ground. It was inaugurated by Gobindgarh Educational and Social Welfare Trust (GESWT) chairman Piara Singh Kalsi. Principal Dr Suresh Tandon welcomed the guests.

College students participated in various events like 100m race, 4 x 100m relay race (boys and girls), 800m race, javelin throw, high jump, shot put, discuss throw, etc. The chief guest on the occasion was Dr SM Kant, director, department of youth welfare Punjab University, Chandigarh.

The results are; long jump (girls) -Nancy Kaushal 1 and Anju Bala 2; long jump (boys) -Nakul 1 and Ravi Kumar Nuri 2; shot put (boys) -Gurdeep Singh 1 and Amrinder Singh 2; shot put (girls) -Ruhi Masson 1 and Anju Bala 2; discus throw (girls) - Ruhi Masson 1 and Ravinder Kaur 2; discus throw (boys) - Amrinder Singh 1 and Paras Dhiman 2; 400m race (boys) -Nakul 1 and Ravi Kumar Nuri 2; 400m race(girls) - Nancy Kaushal 1 and Monika 2; 800m race (boys) - Nakul 1 and Ravi Kumar Nuri 2.

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Harpal adjudged best athlete
Tribune News Service

Khanna, March 4
An annual athletics meet was held today at AS College for Women, wherein a large number of students of the college participated.

Various events, including high jump, long jump, 200 m, 400 m relay races and other games, were held.

Harpal Kaur of BA I was declared best athlete.

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